How Dark is Too Dark?

The Michael J. Prinz medal is awarded every year by the ALA for excellence in YA literature. Excellence, to the ALA, often means edgy, trendy, or outright grim: it’s a sure bet that at least one title in each year’s selection (of one winner and 2 or 3 honor books) will be seriously depressing. This 

Continue Reading…


Allegiant: It Was a Book First!

 The Divergent series by Veronica Roth, a self-avowed Christian, lives on as Allegiant hits theaters this week. Below, Hayley reflects Allegiant in book form. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth.  Katherine Tegen Books, 2013, 544 pages.  Age/interest level: 14 – up.   Beginning Divergent, readers have followed the life and decisions of Beatrice, “Tris” Prior in a future Chicago governed by factions.  

Continue Reading…


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

In most science fiction, technological advances are not shown to advance humanity.   However, it would be tough to find a more negative view of a future world than The 5th Wave, which chronicles an alien attack on our weak and vulnerable planet.  Depressing as it is, the story raises some vital questions about humanity, 

Continue Reading…


The 2016 ALA Youth Media Awards–What happened??

As we were saying last Saturday . . . you just can’t predict what the Newbery committee is going to do. Trends have been toward diversity, disability, and difficulty; books that show children in adverse, even desperate circumstances often get Newbery nods. (That’s why I was so sure The Thing about Jellyfish would be on 

Continue Reading…


Reading with Discernment: YA Literature

One of the high school classes I teach is devoted to helping students become discerning readers. Modern young adult fiction can be a minefield of conflicting worldviews, confusing messages, and the subtle (or not so subtle) push for readers to blindly accept the stories they read with little or no hesitation. We spend a good 

Continue Reading…